At Oncore we are all about supporting the lifestyle and workstyle choices of independent contractors and business owners around the world. While many have had experience working remotely, off-site when they need to, many don’t. In fact, in a recent survey, we conducted with over 400 contractors, most regularly commuted to their work or client’s office and only 10% actually worked remotely on a consistent basis.
So this change to remote working across the world in the last 2 weeks is going to take some time to adjust to, even for independent contractors. Lucky for us at Oncore, we’ve been working in a flexible environment since forever, and we’ve found that there are some real keys to making it a success.
So if you are asking your workers to work from home, or you are a worker who has been asked by your employer or client to work from home, here is a collection of some of our tips for working from home:
Tips from our Oncore Team
“Keep the same routine as if you were going into the office.
- Get dressed as if you were going into the office, it helps get you in the frame of mind that even though you may be at home, you are working.
- Remote work can be lonely and cabin fever is a real problem for some people, make sure you reach to your colleagues to just say hi and chat, preferably over a video call.” – Rodney (Head of Product and Customer Experience)
“You have to be disciplined and not sit at your desk from 7am to 7pm (I’m still working on that one…) You have to have a daily ritual to mark the end of your workday and the beginning of home time.” – Fran (Account Manager)
“If working from home I get dressed for work, put on a shirt etc. I must admit I do love 1 min trip to my desk rather than 1 hour, and I always find I do much more telephone and talk rather than type, which actually encourages more collaboration and connection sometimes!” – Damian (CEO)
“Schedule in break times, catch up times with team members, and make sure you have your lunch! Something I’d like to encourage is to go for a walk in the morning or when it suits even just for 10 minutes. Your mental health and physical health is of utmost importance – especially during this time.” – Nuam (Marketing Manager)
Moving your team online
When moving an entire workforce online, make sure you have accounted for everyone’s personal needs, ensuring they are all set up correctly with the right equipment and space.
Have your IT team tick off that workers can access what they need to from their remote location and they don’t have firewall issues. At the same time, there needs to be a strong emphasis on cybersecurity. If you are a small team, this may not be a big job but for larger organisations, it’s paramount that information is kept secure because of the number of people who can access it. Hire an IT team or consultant if you need to, to get this right.
Ensure online communication is set up for everyone and working. Whether you implement Zoom, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. make sure everyone has it installed and can use it. You’ll be surprised how much time is wasted on trying to get these platforms to work during a live conference!
It’s also a good idea, to have a central place for everyone to indicate if and when they are working. When you’re in the office, it’s easy to see if someone is missing from work. But when most of the team, if not all are working remotely you lose this visibility. At Oncore we have a central document shared with everyone so we all know who is actually working from home (and not on leave or sick). We also use slack as our communication tool which allows users to show via an icon in their profile that they are remote working.
Benefits of working from home:
While this means you need to change a few things about how you and your teamwork, rest assured there are significant benefits for you now and in the long term.
Our Account Manager, Fran says “No commuting means you have the energy to devote to work rather than turning up after battling traffic, missing a train/bus etc.
Being physically away from each other obviously contains illnesses so even coughs and colds don’t travel through an entire workforce if people can work from home when they’re sick.
There’s less distractions so when you need to focus on a task you power through and you can also have a phone or video conversation without having to find a quiet space. For those with pets, it’s “bring your dog/cat/guinea pig to work day EVERY DAY!'”
Luke (Client Solutions Manager) has found he saves a lot of money working from home. “I spend significantly less working from home. Not as much temptation to spend $20 on lunch, no $17 parking or $10 Myki, coffee is free-ish – adds up over a week/month.”
Once you catch the WFH bug, you’ll wonder how you ever did without
According to research, 42% of employees with a remote work option plan to work remotely more often in the next five years. (Owl Labs) This means many of your workers who are doing this for the first time, are likely to want to continue doing this in their role.
It makes sense for businesses if you haven’t done so already, to ensure you have a good remote working system in place.
In fact, according to LinkedIn, 72% of talent professionals agree that work flexibility (which includes remote work options) will be very important for the future of HR and recruiting. (LinkedIn)